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Why Using Zillow For Your Nashville Home Search Is A Bad Idea

Posted by Scott Layson on August 29, 2016
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Zillow nashville home search

If you have been looking at homes for sale in Nashville, then chances are that you have probably used Zillow at some point during your home search. I’m not here to tell you that Zillow is a terrible website and that you should never use it. In fact, I would even bet you that most real estate agents use it from time to time to browse properties. I am here to tell you that there are some major issues if you plan on using it as your primary home search tool. This is especially true in extremely competitive housing markets like Nashville, where we are seeing homes go under contract in a matter of hours.

New Listings Don’t Show Up Right Away

Once a new home hits the market, it can take up to a few days for it to display on Zillow. In fact, a recent report shows that it can take up to 7 days for a listing to show up in some markets.

Is this a big deal? Absolutely.

As I mentioned earlier, homes in Nashville are being snapped up so fast, that if you’re not one of the first people to see a property, then the chances of you purchasing that home decrease dramatically. Heck, in hot areas like 12 South, Germantown & East Nashville, some properties are going under contract sight-unseen. This is why it is so important that we set all of our clients up to receive alerts for new homes directly from the local MLS. By doing this we are ensuring that they are one of the first to see new properties when they are listed and have a fighting chance against other home buyers in the area.

Zillow Doesn’t Have All Nashville Listings

It’s hard to buy a home that you can’t see. When properties are listed for sale, the broker in charge of marketing that home can choose which websites they would like to syndicate the property to. While the majority of real estate agents do allow their listings to be published on Zillow, there are also many that opt out because they do not agree with the Zillow business model.

In fact, Realtracs, which is the MLS for Middle Tennessee, just recently made waves for stating that they would begin to limit the amount of property information they provided in their feed to Zillow. Zillow responded to this by saying they would not allow incomplete data on their site. For these reasons, a direct MLS data feed is the only way to be sure that you are seeing all the available homes for sale.

Inaccurate Home Data

So let’s talk about the homes and data that they actually do have on their website.  A recent study shows that as much as 36% of the listings on Zillow are inaccurate. This means that many of the homes they have listed on their site are actually already under contract or in some cases not even for sale at all. Surely this can’t be true, right? Well, here’s one of our listings that went under contract 10 days ago. Zillow still has it listed as active. I don’t know about you, but I’m a little too busy to waste 36% of my time looking at homes that are already under contract or not even for sale.

Zillow Nashville Home Listing

To make things even more confusing, Zillow has added Pre-Foreclosure and Foreclosure listings to the mix. This leads to excited home buyers thinking they have found a deal, when in reality, the home was never listed for sale. We have even seen homes listed on their site that foreclosed more than a year ago.

While we’re on the topic of inaccurate data, I’ll just touch base real quickly on their famous home value tool or “Zestimate”, which is known to be VERY inaccurate and quite frankly all over the place. In fact, Zillow’s own CEO Spencer Rascoff just sold his home for $1.05 million, while the Zestimate for the property was listed at $1.75 million. That’s almost $750,00 or 40% LESS than what his own website valued it at. So its safe to say that you probably do not want to base your home’s value off of the property values that are presented with this tool.

Bottom Line

While Zillow has a product that has many flaws, it can still be a good tool if you just want to do a quick preliminary search to get a feel for what’s out there in the market. However, if you are serious about finding a home, then you are absolutely doing yourself a disservice if you have not partnered with a local Realtor to get property alerts directly from the MLS.

If you’re ready to find your next home, we would love to help you. Just click on the button below to begin setting up your home search.

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